Lesson 03 | Using Technology
Hi guys! Today we will be chatting about how to use technology such as your computer and apps on your phone to help you get your pocket pages done. But first, I have some really important thoughts I want to share with you as you think about your photo documenting and printing process. Have a listen.
In the video above, I gave a homework assignment that I think you are really going to love. If you struggle with photo choices, with product choices, or are just looking to narrow down some of the decision-making process in your memory keeping, this is a great exercise. It can be incredibly helpful to simply narrow down what purpose this particular project, or memory keeping overall, serves for you. And I think this can be unique for each person, but really narrowing that down might feel challenging to you. I have designed some exercises for you to help you in a Workbook Addendum, which you can download as a PDF below.
Technology can be daunting. Oh yes. I hear you and I feel it too. I am a techno-phobe at heart and I will confess that I hate trying to learn new software! But I also know that it can be a big help in streamlining our process and our workflow so that in the end, it is easier.
I wrote down the exact process of where technology comes into play for me, when creating pocket pages. Obviously you can use your computer or phone for any steps in scrapbooking, and I think it is amazing the layouts that people create using only their phone! But for the purposes of this class, we are going to stick to my process when creating pocket pages, which means taking photos, printing them, and sliding them into pockets. In Lesson 02 I shared my process for batch printing using Lightroom, when I am catching up in older albums. You can also print one layout at a time, perhaps as you are working through your current album. This process looks something like this:
Print Workflow chart
In my video I talk about how my Dad was a mechanic in the Navy and he often spoke to me about how in an engine or a motor, there were lots of different parts that did lots of different things to make that motor run. Every one of those parts was a contact point, and every contact point was a place that something could go wrong. In the workflow process I shared, there are also lots of moving parts, lots of contact points, and lots of places that something can get hung up!
But don’t panic. While there are lots of places to get hung up, there are also lots of places you can streamline, or even take out a step altogether, so you can improve your process. So let’s take a look at these steps in the process and how I approach them in my own workflow. I am a big fan of simplifying any step in the process, and even using the same process for each project, so that it gets done. After doing this method of memory keeping for a long time, I have actually simplified and whittled down my process quite a bit. This is what it actually looks like for 2017:
Print workflow chart 2017
You can see how many of those possibilities I have removed from my process just to make it more simple! You can do this with any project that you are feeling overwhelmed with – look at the process flow and what you actually only really need in order to accomplish that particular project. Everything else is noise.
So let’s walk through these steps in the process, and while we chat about them, feel free to take notes and think about your own process. Think about what is cluttering up your process and what in your process works.
First up is the way in which we capture our photos, typically using a DSLR, point and shoot, and/or phone camera. Those are all digital, but of course film cameras are still able to be used and you may be working with printed photos as well. I counted up all the cameras we have in our house right now and it is about 20 (!!!) but obviously I don’t use them all. I mostly use my phone camera these days – it’s always with me and it takes pretty good photos! I will chat more about photo strategies in Lesson 04, so for now let’s move onto the next step.
Once we have the photos taken then we have to download them. Let me encourage you to download on a regular basis! SD cards get corrupted, cell phones crash and burn, anything can happen at any time, so be sure to download your images on a regular basis. I am a big fan of setting an appointment with yourself to download and print. Also, each piece of equipment requires its own download cable and software. Keep those cables handy and keep your software updated so that part of the process is quick and painless!
Photos taken with your DSLR will need to be prepared in some way so they can be printed. I have two tutorial videos as well to share with you, so let’s take a look at those. In this first one I am working on my desktop using Photoshop CC. I referenced my YouTube playlist that includes more details on using Photoshop for Project Life, so I do hope you will keep those in mind for a more in-depth look.
I have talked about aspect ratio and just want to give you a handy chart that you can use to reference photo sizes, particularly in relationship to pocket pages. This handy chart is also in the workbook so feel free to print it and keep it handy for reference! I have highlighted the ratios and print sizes I use most frequently. Also, there is a lot of information about aspect ratio available on the web: you will find that aspect ratio has many applications and it all depends on the final result, ie print size, you are after.
Photos that are taken with your phone can easily be edited and cropped directly onto your phone before downloading and printing. I am a huge fan of this method of editing and cropping, especially using A Color Story and PicStitch. Those apps make it easy and simple and I can do those edits while I am waiting in line somewhere, or in bed before falling asleep, or any time it works out for me. You can also drop your DSLR photos into Dropbox and use your apps on your phone to crop and edit, and then save them back into Dropbox so they will be back on your computer. I mostly edit my DSLR photos on my computer using Photoshop, and in the case of larger projects I will use Lightroom.
I am a big fan of keeping it simple, in a world that offers too many apps to keep track of! That being said, if you are more interested in learning more about using apps in your scrapbooking, I highly recommend Trina Lankford as an excellent resource on YouTube. She also hosts several Facebook groups called App Scrappers, if you are interested in finding a community of phone scrappers! For the purposes of this class, have a look at the apps I like to use and have familiarity with.
Once you have the photos downloaded on your computer, you have to decide how to print them. I am a huge fan of Canon printers, I’m sure that is no secret! I love my Canon Pixma and I think Canon has done an excellent job of simplifying the printing process for memory keepers. I also believe that if you hate your printer, you aren’t as likely to print your photos, so maybe think about saving up and making a way to purchase a printer that you do love. If that isn’t possible, or if you just like to order your photos online, that is great too. Again, schedule appointments with yourself on a regular basis to get your photos printed. I am a fan of doing this once a month, if I know I am sending my photos out. Then when you get your photos back, you have a month of photos to scrapbook before you get the next batch in.
I also thought I would share with you a quick video on how to print your digital journal cards. I work a lot with digital products as part of my work on the Sahlin Studio and On A Whimsical Adventure creative teams, and I also feel that digital products are a quick and easy way to add to our albums. They are instantly downloadable and give us a way to support designers in our industry who may not be associated with the bigger brand names. So I hope you will consider digital products in your own process, and I also hope this video will help make it easier to do that!
I know this might seem like a whole lot of information that you might already know, or perhaps you didn’t know and have been able to learn some new things! Let’s move on to the process videos for this lesson.